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J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 3;279(49):50840-9. Epub 2004 Sep 22.

Dna2p helicase/nuclease is a tracking protein, like FEN1, for flap cleavage during Okazaki fragment maturation.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


During cellular DNA replication the lagging strand is generated as discontinuous segments called Okazaki fragments. Each contains an initiator RNA primer that is removed prior to joining of the strands. Primer removal in eukaryotes requires displacement of the primer into a flap that is cleaved off by flap endonuclease 1 (FEN1). FEN1 employs a unique tracking mechanism that requires the recognition of the free 5' terminus and then movement to the base of the flap for cleavage. Abnormally long flaps are coated by replication protein A (RPA), inhibiting FEN1 cleavage. A second nuclease, Dna2p, is needed to cleave an RPA-coated flap producing a short RPA-free flap, favored by FEN1. Here we show that Dna2p is also a tracking protein. Annealed primers or conjugated biotin-streptavidin complex block Dna2p entry and movement. Single-stranded binding protein-coated flaps inhibit Dna2p cleavage. Like FEN1, Dna2p can track over substrates with a non-Watson Crick base, such as a biotin, or a missing base within a chain. Unlike FEN1, Dna2p shows evidence of a "threading-like" mechanism that does not support tracking over a branched substrate. We propose that the two nucleases both track, Dna2p first and then FEN1, to remove initiator RNA via long flap intermediates.

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